In Farm’s Way: An Organic Cozy Mystery (Farm to Table Mysteries)
3rd in Series
Setting – Michigan
Poisoned Pen Press (February 24, 2023)
Mass Market Paperback : 312 pages
ISBN-10 : 1492699977
ISBN-13 : 978-1492699972
Kindle ASIN : B09Z7C5S4F
When the biggest catch at the annual Ice Fishing Derby is the body of brewmaster Wallace, Shiloh must reel in the killer before her farm goes belly-up.
Shiloh Bellamy still expects the last few Winter months to be busy with repairs, spring planning, and networking with local businesses. She might even be able to broker a new partnership with Fields Brewery and its organic brewer’s association. Well, she could if the owner, Wallace, wasn’t found murdered at the county Ice Fishing Derby.
Once again, Shiloh gets tangled up in the investigation when the police ignore an entire crop of suspects to blame one of her friends. She’ll have to dig deep to find the truth, reel in a killer, and convince her city-slicker pug to wear his winter boots. But with Bellamy Farm still struggling, can Shiloh spare the time to look into the town’s fishy characters? Or will her dream farm be the next thing floating belly up?
Winter in Cherry Glen means plenty of ice, snow, and slippery roads. It also means the annual Lake Skegemon Ice Fishing Derby. Shi’s dad Sully will be out on the ice with Quinn and Hazel. This year it also means a contest at Fields’ Brewing Company to name a new brewmaster. Each contestant had to enter a cherry beer. Shiloh has plenty to keep her busy trying to come up with ways to save the family farm but her best friend Kristy’s husband Kent is one of the finalists in the contest so she had to go to the party. Kristy thought for sure his cherry stout would win but when owner Wallace Fields announced the winner it wasn’t Kent.
The next day Shiloh arrives at the derby to drop her father off and work in the Cherry Glen booth with Kristy. She gets waylaid on her way to the booth when her pug Huckleberry drags her over to see something under the ice. It’s Wallace Fields and he won’t be catching any fish or brewing any more beer. The police quickly place Kent at the top of the suspect list which means Shiloh is going to have to break a lot of ice to get them to take a look at a bunch of other suspects. She has to be careful too or she could be the next one swimming with the fishes.
My heart was just breaking for Shiloh several times during this story. She is working so hard to keep the family farm and make the repairs it needs. Going organic may be the answer but it’s a long process. That is a lot of weight on her shoulders. Then her relationship with her father has not improved much at all. Seeing him have a great relationship with Hazel makes things even harder. She is happy they are friends and have fun together, she just wishes for a similar relationship with him herself. Then there is Quinn, who put Shi firmly in the friend zone when they would be great as a couple raising Hazel together. He is going to be sorry if she moves on with someone else. All of Ms. Flowers’s characters are interesting with great real-life connections. I do love Shiloh’s pug, Huckleberry. He and my dog have a lot in common when it comes to proper attire for canines in the winter months. Too Funny. Three stories in and I am very invested in these characters.
There were several viable suspects when it comes to the brewery owner’s death. I really enjoyed the way Shiloh threw herself into her investigation, even if it did put her into some tricky situations. The police warned her several times to butt out of their case. As they predicted her pursuit of the truth took an ugly turn that set up a scary reveal. It gave me chills. The guilty party was not on my radar at all. Readers were introduced to several new characters in this book and my focus was cleverly diverted to a different one by the author.
Winter in Michigan is pretty darn similar to that in Wisconsin. So the weather outside my window was the same as it was at the derby and the Bellamy farm. A nice furry blanket, a Christmas present from my daughter-in-law, and a couple of cups of hot chocolate kept me warm and toasty as I read about the frigid weather in Cherry Glen and the surrounding area.
In Farm’s Way was full of cherry beer and winter fun, a captivating mystery, and true-to-life characters. I really enjoyed the entire story.
There are some more interesting times ahead for Shiloh so I am counting the days until I can return to Cherry Glen and the Bellamy Farm next year.
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About the Author
Amanda Flower, a USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning author of over twenty-five cozy mystery novels, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth-grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. In addition to being an author, Amanda is a former librarian with fifteen years of experience in Northeast Ohio.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”